The POGs: Packers Edition
RELIANT STADIUM – The Green Bay Packers man handled the Houston Texans in front of a national audience Sunday night with a final score of 42-24. Packers’ quarterback and reigning MVP showcased his skills by throwing a career high 6 touchdowns, and earning NFC Player of the Week. In our Texans to Watch Green Bay Packers Edition, we specifically highlighted that the Texans did not want to get into a shootout with Rodgers. We also suggested that the Texans would need to maintain a ball controlled run first offense. These two items were imperative for the Texans to win. Both of which the Texans failed, hence the blowout.
Although the Texans performed badly, there were a few bright spots by individual Texans players. This edition of Players of the Game will focus on those bright spots.
First, offensive tackle Duane Brown, who has been the highest rated tackle by Pro Football Focus so far this year, performed well against the Packers’ Clay Matthews. Matthews made plays but rarely, if ever, was it a direct result of poor play by Brown. After the game, Brown was asked about his match up with Matthews, “He is the real deal. He is a great player. Early on I was trying to feel him out. Once I settled down, I thought I blocked him pretty well. He’s a great player.”
The Texans were wise to lock Brown into a deal that will make him the starting left tackle for several more years. Brown is the real deal and he played better than the rest of the offensive line, especially against Matthews.
After the game, Brown also recognized that, as a unit, the offensive line failed in the running game. “I think we need to just continue working on the running game. That is something we really take pride in, and when you are forced to be one-dimensional against a team like this you are setting yourself up (for failure).”
Second, the special teams play of Bryan Braman was exceptional in a losing effort. He is consistently making tackles on special teams and blocked a punt that resulted in a Devier Posey recovery for a touchdown. He is playing recklessly and with a high motor. It may be time for Phillips to implement Braman into the defense more often. If his special teams play is any indication of his passion, he will be successful – at the very least, it can’t get worse than our current OLB sack production.
Finally, after the big loss, it is even more evident how great J.J. Watt is. He continues to play at a higher level than anyone else on the field. Watt finished with 6 tackles, 4 of which were for a loss, 2 more sacks to regain his NFL sack lead, and 3 quarterback hurries. What makes Watt even more likable is that when he succeeds in a win, he gives his teammates credit, and when he succeeds in a loss, he still makes it a team effort.
His greatness was recognized by the Packers. After the game, Aaron Rodgers said, “He’s a big time player in this league. He has a chance to be Defensive Player of the Year for sure and be great in this league for a long time.”
Texans’ fans may think the sky is falling but the fact remains the Texans are one of two teams with a winning record in the entire AFC Conference. And, the Texans have yet to peek. They have yet to put together a complete four phase game (offense, defense, special teams, and coaching).
“We are 5-1. We are a very good football team. Tonight wasn’t our night. We didn’t have a good showing,” said Watt after the game. Next up, conference foe and current 5-1 Baltimore Ravens.